DRUGSTORE MOVES DOWNTOWN – WITH NIGHTCLUB
Orlando, Fla.; Dec 2, 1993; Nancy Feigenbaum of The Sentinel Staff;
First there were stores. Then there were these bankers. Now there are stores again. A drugstore coming to downtown Orlando has been through all phases of this cycle. Webster Liggett Drugs opened in 1945 at Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street. The store later moved several times, winding up inside State Discount Center at 114 S. Orange Ave. It will move to a full-sized store at Orange Avenue and Pine Street on Dec. 20, selling prescription drugs, starting Jan. 3.
“Right now there’s a lot of retail for tourists. But for the average office worker, there’s not a lot of opportunity to buy retail,” said Ed Webman, co-owner of Webster and great-nephew of its founder.
Orlando’s Downtown Development Board estimates that 40,000 people
Webster Drug Stores Inc., a family-owned business with one other location, bought the four-story building for $1.2 million. The drugstore used to be part of the Liggett chain, which has disbanded. It is leasing the second
and third floors to a nightclub, Jani Lane’s Sunset Strip.
If Webster’s concept is a throw-back, the nightclub will reflect the newer side of downtown Orlando: its burgeoning night life.
“Downtown really is the hottest place right now,” said Carollynn Hammersmith, spokeswoman for Sunset Strip.
Orlando has been encouraging retailers to come downtown since at least the mid-1980s. At that point it began requiring new owners of buildings to use retail for at least half the bottom floor’s street front. The requirement applies to Orange Avenue and parts of west Church Street, said Hal Welch, development coordinator at Orlando’s Downtown Development Board.
Church Street Station, the tourist attraction and market, has led the resurgence of retail and entertainment in the heart of Orlando.
Sunset Strip, atop Liggett, is the latest of dozens of nightclubs to open in the wake of Church Street’s success. It is named for Jani Lane, a former Orlando musician who hit the big time with a heavy metal band called Warrant.
The club will be managed by another part-owner, Ray Stines, who managed a rock club called The Station in Fern Park.
Sunset Strip has knocked out the partitions and newer walls, erected during the building’s tenure as a law firm. It will have a capacity of 600, Hammersmith said, in an atmosphere of raw brick and wooden beam ceilings.
Hammersmith described the club as mainstream rock and compared
it to Hard Rock Cafe in atmosphere. Some of the national acts it has booked,
however, are a “heavier” sound, with more of the harsher, heavy metal
The drugstore will be open during the day, catering to the downtown
office crowd and bus commuters, Webman said. In addition to the usual drugstore fare, it will have a Hallmark section the size of a small card shop, a large cosmetics section and a section for convenience-store food, including a display case for Dunkin’ Donuts.
PHOTO: Webster Liggett Drugs
will return downtown with a store at Orange Avenue and Pine Street. GARY BOGDON/SENTINEL
BOX: Down on the corner – Webster Liggett Drugs – Moving from inside State Discount Center at 114 S. Orange Ave. to the corner of Orange Avenue and Pine Street.
The new store will be 7,500 square feet and include a card shop, convenience-store food and cosmetic department. – Jani Lane’s Sunset Strip – Opening upstairs from Webster, a ‘mainstream rock’ club partly owned by the lead singer of Warrant, a heavy metal band. It will have live music 6 days a week, targeting rockers aged 25 to 54.